Soccer MLS

5 Bold Predictions for the Houston Dynamo’s 2014 MLS Season

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5 Bold Predictions for the Houston Dynamo's 2014 MLS Season

Houston Dynamo MLS Predictions
Denny Medley - USA TODAY Sports

As long as Dom Kinnear is in charge of the Houston Dynamo we can expect a lot of stability. The core of the team returns and the expectations of a deep playoff run are still in place. Some may argue that the Dynamo have been one of the most stable clubs in MLS over the past five years. This consistency should put the Dynamo in the playoff conversation once again this year.

The Dynamo did add depth to the squad this offseason through various methods. They added three players in the SuperDraft, made a trade with the Portland Timbers and executed the first intra-league loan in MLS. Still many of the players expected to start on Mar. 8, including Tally Hall, Giles Barnes and Will Bruin, should be familiar to fans.

Houston is not often considered an innovative team or a sexy team to watch. They have played a very physical style over the years and will still have a bit of that to their game this season. However, the lineup last fall began to rely on their pace and precision. Boniek Garcia, Corey Ashe and Kofi Sarkodie all bring flair and speed to their respective positions. Barnes was able to find the net nine times and lead the team in goals. The style of play is slowly becoming less about physicality and more about explosive attack.

The innovation part is being addressed as well. Houston announced a new USL PRO agreement with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. They will be able to loan some of their younger players out to get them minutes. The Dynamo also started a new NWSL franchise, the Houston Dash. The Dash will be led by former Dynamo star Brian Ching.

The Dynamo has intertwined their consistency with some advancement to broaden the appeal of the Dynamo brand. The product on the field should be a competitor as is the norm of late. The team still holds one of the best home records in the league in BBVA Compass Stadium. We’ll have a more in depth season preview before MLS kicks off, but for now here are some predictions for the Houston Dynamo.

Douglas Smith is a soccer writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DFresh39, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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5. Brad Davis Will Set Records

Brad Davis MLS Houston Dynamo
Noah K. Murray - USA TODAY Sports

The famous left foot of Brad Davis should set a couple records this season for Houston. He is a long shot to make the USMNT squad in Brazil because of his ability to play with his left and that could hinder one of the records. Davis can reach 300 Dynamo appearances if he features in 28 matches this year. The record that will come earlier is 100 assists across all competitions for Houston. Davis only needs one assist to reach that milestone which would put him fifth on the MLS all-time assists list.

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4. Tony Cascio Will Start At Least 25 Games

Tony Cascio Houston Dynamo
Casey Sapio - USA TODAY Sports

In the first intra-league loan in MLS history, Tony Cascio moved from the Colorado Rapids to Houston. He is looking to regain his form and has looked good in the preseason. Cascio understands that he has been too inconsistent, but sitting on the bench in Colorado may have taught him a lesson. The winger is comfortable on both sides of the field and always looks to get forward while taking on defenders. Kinnear has belief in Cascio, who is unable to play against Colorado. Still, it seems like he fits in the lineup for Houston.

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3. The Dynamo Center Backs Will Be Jermaine Taylor and David Horst

Houston Dynamo MLS Jermaine Taylor
Russell Isabella - USA TODAY Sports

Putting Jermaine Taylor as one of the starting center backs is not really a surprise. Taylor is coming off an injury and just got back to match fitness. He played 72 minutes this past Saturday. The competition for the other spot is coming down to Eric Brunner and David Horst who are friends battling it out. Brunner filled in for Taylor at the end of last season, and Horst was acquired from the Portland Timbers. They will be asked to replace Bobby Boswell, a stalwart for Houston over the last six years. Horst will get the call because he has a better track record of winning the aerial balls, but Brunner will be a capable fill-in.

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2. AJ Cochran Will Be Sent to Pittsburgh

AJ Cochran Houston Dynamo
Stephanie Greene - USA TODAY Sports

The Dynamo drafted AJ Cochran as their first overall pick this season, but he is low on the depth chart at center back. With the amount of depth at this position it would be wise to send Cochran to Pittsburgh as part of their new partnership. The Dynamo can send four players north to get them minutes. The No. 16 overall pick would most likely slot right into the starting lineup in Pittsburgh.

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1. The Dynamo's Playoff Hopes Will Be Settled in the Last Two Matches

Houston Dynamo MLS
Casey Sapio - USA TODAY Sports

The Eastern Conference in MLS has gotten a lot better. The Dynamo finished in fourth place last year but will have heavy competition from top to bottom. Two of the teams they will be fighting with are the New England Revolution and Chicago Fire. They are also the last two games of the season meaning a playoff spot could be on the line when Houston travels to Toyota Park in October.